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When I Say 'I’m Fine' I Never Really Mean It

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You ask me how I am, and I tell you I’m “fine.” Sometimes, I say it with a weak smile. Sometimes I say it while staring at the floor. Sometimes, it comes out in a whisper. Sometimes, I manage a convincing tone. But no matter how it sounds when those words leave my lips, they are not always my reality.

There are so many raw truths hidden behind the guise of those two words, and I wish you had x-ray vision to see through my lies because I can’t confess them on my own. My depression, anxiety and eating disorder create forcefields around me and I am unable to communicate through their thick walls.

So now I’m here to tell you that when I say, “I’m fine,” I never really mean it.

What I mean is I want so badly to tell you I’m not OK, but I can’t manage anything more.

I’m not OK, but I’m afraid if I tell you, you’ll leave me.

I’m not OK, but I don’t want to burden you with my problems.

I’m not OK, but I don’t want to admit that to you or myself.

I’m not OK, but I’m scared to ask for help.

I’m not OK, but it’s hard to explain.

I’m not OK, but I have too many emotions suffocating me from the inside out to express in words.

I’m not OK, but I feel too helpless to do anything more than keep it all inside.

I’m not OK, but the walls that I’ve built around me are too strong and too high to let you in.

I’m not OK.

I’m not OK.

I’m not OK.

When I say, “I’m fine,” I never really mean it. I want more than anything to tell you that I’m not fine, but that middle word seems to slip away every time.

I want to be OK, but right now I’m not. I want to be honest, but right now I’m scared. So when I tell you I’m fine, please know it’s my way of asking for help. Please know all I need is for someone to tell me it’s OK to not be OK, and that I am not alone.

Unsplash photo via Joanna Nix

Originally published: November 28, 2018
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